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How to Remove Smoke Smell from Car

Last updated on January 25th, 2024

Smoke smell isn’t a shy thing. Whether you carry smokers or you recently stopped smoking and want to get rid of the cigarette smell in your car, you’ll agree with me that this is a foul smell for everyone who doesn’t smoke.

Not only does the smell discomfort you as a non-smoker, but it gets stuck in your leather car seats, and it also reduces the cost of your car if you want to sell it.

Fortunately, you don’t have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to remove the smoky smell. What you need are some cleaning products, homemade remedies and of course time.

So, in this article, we’ll discuss at length how to remove the smoke smell from cars and leave a pleasant fragrance behind.

Follow us religiously as we uncover how to eliminate smoke scents from your car, from basic to best and proven methods.

General Means of Removing Smoke Smell From Car

There are a few steps you should take to remove the cigarette smell from your car interiors before proceeding to the best and most proven techniques.

These first steps remove smoke particles and smells from car interiors like air vents, air conditioners, car heaters, upholstery, and floor mats.

Tips: Ensure you read the warnings on any product label before applying them to any car interior surface. Ensure it won’t have any effect on the surface.

Materials needed for general cleaning steps

  • Enough rag
  • Steam cleaner
  • Vinegar 
  • Odor neutralizer
  • Handheld vacuum cleaner.

Start in a ventilated environment

Park your vehicle in a driveway and wind down the windows. With this alone, your car can take in the fresh air and expel some of the smoky odor.

Remove trash from your car

Check your car’s interior and get rid of any trace of smoke particles, cigarette butts, and anything that looks like cigar particles.

Cleaning your car interiors

Clean your car interiors

This step requires a deep cleaning. Remove your floor mats and seat covers. vacuum every part of the car interior. Take out the floor carpets and floor mats and vacuum them separately.

Keep the carpets outside to receive some fresh air. You need to be cautious while cleaning the leather in your car.

Get a steam cleaner and wipe the upholstery

Clean the leather seats, dashboard, steering wheel, or any other leather surface. For a cleaning remedy, you can lay your hands on it at home and mix white vinegar with water.

This combination works well on the dashboard and leather seats in your car interior. I recommend using Simple Green for an all-purpose cleaning solution. It is environmentally safe.

If you feel the strong smell won’t get out of the car interiors, replace the carpets, floor mats, headliners, and upholstery.

Expel air from the ducts system

Park your vehicle in a safe place and shift the gear in the park. Start the engine and turn the AC and the fan on to max cool settings.

Ensure the air is not recirculating. Wind down the windows so the fan and blower will eliminate the smoke smell in your car interior.

Before airing out the duct system, remove the cabin air filter and blow it out with an air compressor.

Spray neutralizer into the air intake system

As the engine is running, turn on the AC, blower, and fan on maximum settings. Locate the air intake system and neutralize it. The air intake is typically found on top of the hood, close to the windshield.

Spritz the foul-smelling neutralizer into the intake vent to neutralize the air coming from the vents. It will eliminate the foul odor coming from the air conditioning system. Keep spraying the odor neutralizer until the foul smell reduces.

Neutralize the vehicle heating system

This step is as essential as neutralizing the air intake. Start the engine like in the previous step, and turn on the heater.

Put it in maximum setting and spritz the foul-smelling neutralizer into the heater intake vents. Keep repeating this process until the smoke smell reduces.

You have completed the above steps, and the smoke smell is still coming. Do not worry. We’ll get rid of it. The outlined steps are just preparations to eliminate the odor.

Using homemade Remedies to eliminate the Smoke Smell from Car

Clear cigarette smell with citrus fruits

This may sound stupid or disgusting. Leave freshly cut or peeling oranges, lemons, or limes in your car for a couple of days to eliminate the cigar smell.

This is a tested, natural, and effective means of removing the cigar smell from vehicles.

Absorb car smoke smells with white vinegar

Vinegar is a popular, effective homemade solution for getting rid of the smoke smell from cars. All you have to do is, pour vinegar into a cup and it stays overnight inside your vehicle.

Eliminate the tobacco smell with coffee grounds

Another effective means of eliminating cigarette smell is leaving coffee grounds inside your car.

Pour coffee grounds into a cup or bowl and leave it overnight or for a few days (if you’re not currently making use of the vehicle). This solution will mask the foul smell in your car.

Remove the smoke smell with charcoal

Gather some charcoal cakes and put them in a bowl. Leave it inside the car for a few days to eliminate the smoke smell.

This solution completely eliminates the smoky smell, unlike coffee grounds, which mask bad smells.

Use dryer seats with car seats to remove the smoke smell

Get a dryer sheet and wipe your car seats. This will instantly take care of the smoke smell, but it will likely return after a day or two.

Eliminate the smoke smell with baking soda

Baking soda is a powerful homemade cleaning solution. It is an excellent agent for getting rid of several foul smells from cars; the smoke smell is no exception.

All you have to do is sprinkle it on your floor mats and carpets, leave it for a couple of hours, and blow it off with your vacuum pump.

Clear cigarette odor with cat litter

The last homemade remedy to destroy the cigar smell from a car is using cat litter. Get a cup or bowl and fill it with cat litter; leave it in your vehicle for a few days; and watch it eliminate the cigarette odor.

proven ways to remove smoke smell

Best, Fast, and Proven Ways to Remove Smoke Smell from Cars

If you need the best, fastest, and most proven solutions to get rid of the smoky smell from a car, you’ll find the answers in the following few paragraphs.

This requires using finished products. These products eliminate entirely foul odors rather than masking them.

I recommend using these products rather than homemade remedies because they provide ultimate results.

Using Ozium To Eliminate Smoke Smell

Ozium is known for its performance. It eliminates any offensive odor. It also kills bacteria, which makes it better than its competitors.

Spritz Ozium in your vehicle interior and leave it overnight to do its magic. If the smoky smell is still there, then you’ll have to do this for a couple of nights.

Get rid of cigarette smell with an odor bomb

Odor Bomb is a popular name in the cleaning product space. It wipes out any kind of odor; the cigarette or cigar smell is not exclusive. Guess what! Odor bombs do not mask smells. It completely eliminates it.

The best and proven means of removing the smoke smell is using Ozone treatment

Ozone treatment is a reliable, best, and proven means of removing the smoke smell. However, let it be the last thing you should think of since it could cause health issues if not used properly.

I do not advise doing this at home with an ozone generator. Instead, I recommend having a mechanic do the job.

How to eliminate Smoke Smell with Ozone Generator

Step 1: Get rid of trash and keep your car clean, as highlighted in the first steps.

Step 2: Keep the ozone generator inside your vehicle.

Step 3: Turn on the generator and leave it to fill the vehicle.

Step 4: Switch on your AC and climate control systems. Turn the fan to maximum settings to circulate ozone through the vehicle duct systems.

Step 5: Roll Down your windows to allow the ozone to get out of your car interior.


Thankfully, this article has unveiled several steps on how to remove the smoke smell from cars. 

If you’re still having issues or don’t have the time to carry out any of these steps, drive to a standard car wash and request car detailing.

Let us know your thoughts and which one works for you in the comment section.



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